Contrary to the famous line by the Tom Hanks character in A League of Their Own, last night proved once again that sometimes the moment can break even the toughest. Last night the home crowd said goodbye to their hero. Last night at Yankee Stadium, Mariano Rivera threw his last pitch in the city he has spent his entire first ballot Hall of Fame career.
The season did not go as planned, the Yankees were eliminated from post-season play, and really, the fact they still had an outside shot of making it until this week, is a testament to manager Joe Girardi. The injuries were insurmountable. With the exception of second baseman Robinson Cano, the entire infield was out most of the season. Jeter, Teixeria, ARod, all out. A rotating catcher position of non-starters, Granderson, Gardner, all out for long periods. And let's not talk about the pitching.
Last night, with one out in the eighth inning and the Yankees down 4-0, Girardi walked to the mound and made the sign everyone knew would come. One last time to pay homage to the best that ever was, and the best that will ever be. One last time to see a humble man take his place on the field to the sound of Metallica's "Enter Sandman." One last time as the entire stadium, and every Yankee and Tampa Bay player stood and applauded. One last time.
Mo did what he almost always did, got out of the inning with no runs and no hits. The YES Network did not break away for a commercial, but stayed focused on the face of Rivera. What he was thinking, we could only imagine. He walked onto the field for the ninth and retired the first two batters.
It was over. A career they will talk about for a hundred years. A night we will never forget. A man we will always remember. It's been a great ride, and a privilege to have watched him all these years.
Simply, the best. Thanks Mo.